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Judge announces Oxford High School shooter can be sentenced to life without parole

Judge announces Oxford High School shooter can be sentenced to life without parole
Judge announces Oxford High School shooter can be sentenced to life without parole 09:53

OAKLAND COUNTY, Mich. (CBS DETROIT) - Oakland County Judge Kwame Rowe ruled Friday that the Oxford High School shooter can face life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Rowe considered five factors in determining if the shooter was mature and conscious of his decision to shoot up the school, as well as if there was any possibility of rehabilitation.  

"There is other disturbing evidence that is clear to this court that the defendant had an obsession with violence before the shooting," Rowe said. 

Rowe went through the five factors one by one during a Zoom hearing Friday, where he announced his ruling after four grueling days of emotional testimony from victims, families and experts. 

"As stated, the court also finds, note the defendant's post-arrest behavior in determining his possibility of being rehabilitated," Rowe said. 

One of the Miller factors is rehabilitation and whether or not that is possible. In this case, Rowe pointed out that the behavior exhibited by the shooter while in custody was in line with the same behavior pattern that led up to the mass school shooting, where four students were killed and seven others were injured. 

Rowe spoke about many disciplinary actions taken against the Oxford Shooter while he was in jail, including an instance where he hacked a tablet used for education and used it to view violent content. 

"The court finds that evidence at this point shows that the defendant's possibility of rehabilitation is slim, the defendant continues to be obsessed with violence, and could not stop his obsession even while incarcerated at the jail," Judge Rowe said. 

On Nov. 30, 2021, the shooter took the lives of Tate Myre, Hana St. Juliana, Madisyn Baldwin and Justin Schilling.

"It is frankly the outcome I expected. Just to have it on the table, because if you saw the shooter in court, there is nothing in his eyes; blank, he has no soul," said attorney Wolf Mueller, who represents the families of Baldwin and Phoebe Arthur, who were shot and injured. 

Mueller filed a civil case against Oxford Community Schools. He said Rowe's decision was the right outcome and says it's a small step in the healing process for his clients. 

"First, I think it's the appropriate step at this time. We don't know what the decision will ultimately be, but my clients are very pleased that life without parole is on the table," Mueller said. 

Oakland County Prosecutor Karen McDonald released a statement that reads in part:

"I commend the teachers and students who testified about what happened at Oxford High School that day, and I hope the result today brings the victims, their families, and the Oxford community some comfort."

A sentencing hearing is set for December 8. 

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